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What kind of converter to use for hair dryers/flat irons while in Europe

What kind of converter to use for hair dryers/flat irons while in Europe

Old Sep 15th, 2010, 07:36 PM
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What kind of converter to use for hair dryers/flat irons while in Europe

Hi there...Trying to find out whether converters will work for hairdryers or flat irons with 120V in Europe. SHould i go ahead and buy hair dryer/flat iron with dual voltage or just use the one i use in the US with a converter? WIll it work and what kind to buy? When shopping for dual voltage hair dryer, do i need to look out for anything? Any suggestion will be of great help! Thanks!!
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Old Sep 15th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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If you're taking an appliance without dual voltage you'll need a converter and an adaptor (to change the plug so that it fits into European sockets, which vary from country to country).

IMO hair dryers and flat irons always suffer a bit when they are used with converters. They don't work as well, can overheat easily, and sometimes they aren't quite "right" when they come home.

Are you staying in hotels on your trip? Because most, if not all, will probably supply a hair dryer and you won't need to bring one. Most B&Bs seem to supply them now too. Standard equipment.

If you buy a dual voltage hair dryer stateside, it should have a little "screw"-type button that you turn to change the voltage. It doesn't turn easily - a screwdriver or somesuch is needed - so that it isn't turning back and forth of its own volition and causing trouble during everyday use.

Note that you will STILL need an adaptor, to change the plug so that it will fit the sockets on your trip.

I travel to the UK often and sometimes stay with friends, so I do need to take appliances. I bought them in the UK to use in Europe (I just use different adaptors on the plug if going to other countries). So I have 2 sets - one for over there, and one for North America.
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Old Sep 15th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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You can take a dual-voltage device with you, but - much better - buy one there, it will be right in both the wattage and the prongs for the plug.

Bring it back, before you know it someone you know will want to go to Europe and will take it off your hands.

If you use a converter, it has to be just the right one, a heavy-duty one calibrated to your equipment, because these type of devices use much higher wattage than all the cellphone/gameplayer stuff most people take (if their gizmos aren't already dual-voltage, in which case they just need a plug-adapter).
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Old Sep 15th, 2010, 08:17 PM
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Chi and Bespoke make good dual voltage dryers and flat irons. I've been using the t3 travel sized 1800 watt ionic hair dryer since 2005. It is used at home every day an on at least 15 trips abroad in that time frame with no issue. Both sephora and drugstore.com sell both lines.
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Old Sep 15th, 2010, 09:41 PM
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I bought a flat iron via Internet for overseas use after trying both dual voltage and single voltage with converter, both of which ended up generally useless. It has been well worth it and then you always have it for future trips. Mine is set up with plug for central Europe (I use it in Italy) but comes with a set of adapters for other countries such as UK.
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Old Sep 16th, 2010, 12:53 AM
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Nothing with a heating element and/or a motor should be brought from North America. It's not just the voltage, but also the number of cycles (50/60).
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Old Sep 16th, 2010, 01:33 AM
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To get smart on electricity in Europe see http://tinyurl.com/2y9zvv. IMO you are better off with dual voltage appliances or buy them over there. Converters can be dangerous. That may be why most hotels and B&Bs have a hair blower in the room.
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Old Sep 16th, 2010, 03:06 AM
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It's not a good idea to bring a US voltage only item to Europe. If you need one then buy one when you arrive or at worst buy a dual voltage one in the US - though note that many dual voltage items don't work that well outside the US.
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Old Sep 16th, 2010, 03:27 AM
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Newer converters have different wattage ratings than the old ones did and work just fine with hair dryers/curling irons. You want a converter that is rated 0-2000 watts. There are two types, manual switch and auto. Get the auto. Travel Smart is a common brand sold at places like Walmart. Magellan's also sells one, but will cost more. If you buy a manual switch, you have to select each time to match the watt on your appliance. You also want to operate the appliance on a low setting (it will perform as if on high).

I don't think any converters work well with flat irons. Magellan's even has a little disclaimer about them.

Travel Smart manual switch.
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Old Sep 17th, 2010, 03:07 AM
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Sitting at the Munich Airport at the moment. My wife has a blow dryer and curling iron she bought in Europe. Most converters are very heavy. I decided to leave ours in a drawer of our last hotel. I have only dual current devices (laptop, camera, cell phone)
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Old Sep 17th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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My wife bought a small hairdryer on our first day in Germany. About 12 Euro. Probably cheaper and more reliable than buying a converter and adapter here. She's used it for all our trips to Germany, etc. so it was well worth it.
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Old Sep 17th, 2010, 10:16 PM
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Thanks all for all the information! I bought a flat iron and hair dryer from sephora which have universal voltage. The sephora sales people said they work everywhere in the world. In case they don't work, I can always return them!!! I'll just buy them while in Europe if they don't work!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 11:15 AM
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For future visitors, there is no special circuitry in dual-voltage hair dryers. They simply have mechanical "governors" to prevent you from switching into the high setting. That's because motors will run twice as fast and heating elements will get twice as hot at 240 volts than at 120.

If you don't have a dual-voltage switch and you're traveling from the US to most other countries, just run your hair dryer on the LOW setting.

Don't believe me? Open your "dual voltage" hair dryer and look.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2013, 02:52 AM
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I bought a small dryer on ebay, off a 120 volt store. Well worth it because I hate some of those hotel hairdryers. You have to hold the button in to make it work. I have long thick hair. I have a curling iron that I bought cheap and always just take them. My friend blew up her flat iron with my expensive convertor that I use for my laptop. I just don't chance it anymore.
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